Frank Strong – 2019 INDUCTEE
“Freight Train” Frank Strong was born in Council Bluffs, which was the eastern terminus of the Union Pacific Railroad. Frank began to play the guitar and harmonica at age 18, and for his entire career, the trains have influenced his music. As a VSA Arts of Iowa artist, Frank has developed a residence and performance program around the historical, economic and cultural impacts of the building and operation of the railroads, including the development of “Railroad Songs.” Frank and his wife, Jeanette, operate Southside Music Studio where he teaches harmonica. He has also served as a clinician for CIBS’ Blues in the Schools program. Frank has been a regular competitor in the Iowa Blues Challenge Solo/Duo Competition and performs at CIBS monthly membership meetings. He can be seen playing the blues throughout the city. Since 2007, Frank has produced the Botanical Blues Series at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Gardens, bringing the blues to one of Des Moines’ most beautiful settings, providing opportunities for scores of musicians to perform and exposing thousands to the music he loves.